What Are Devil Sharks? These Predators Have A Thing For Heat
On Wednesday, July 26, Shark Week is dedicated to showing you what devil sharks are and why you should be fascinated by them. According to a Discovery Channel press release, the program will investigate why sharks are drawn to volcanoes and gather in these literal hotspots. The official description of Devil Sharks reads:
From active to extinct, and at every stage in between, volcanoes hold a strong attraction for sharks of all kinds. Across the world, sharks congregate and concentrate around volcanoes and volcanic islands. What is it about volcanoes that make them shark hotspots? Dr. Mike Heithaus dives in several volcanoes to find out.
Since devil sharks aren't an actual species of sharks, it appears to be a nickname for these heat-seeking fish — much like "alien sharks" are just weird-looking sharks from the deep sea. But the word "devil" has been used in other shark nicknames as well. In 2013, the Daily Mail reported that a prehistoric species of shark that had horns and sharp teeth was discovered in the Kaibab Formation in Arizona. Because of its resemblance to a certain dark figure, the Diablodontus Michaeledmundi shark even boasts "diablo" in its scientific name (get it?) and was nicknamed "Devil Tooth." But considering that this chomper existed in prehistoric times, Discovery Channel's Devil Sharks likely doesn't refer to them — unless they too are drawn to the lure of volcanoes.
The modern predators themselves are no stranger to volcanoes. A 2015 National Geographic video shows Ocean Engineer Brennan Phillips and his team finding sharks inside a submarine volcano near Solomon Island. According to the video, they were able to drop cameras and instruments into the crater and were fascinated by what they found. "Sharks are cool in their own right — all of them are — but a hammerhead is particularly neat looking," Phillips told National Geographic in the video. "And they're in there, in numbers, inside the volcano! Now I want to spend years trying to study that and why that is the case.”
When it comes to "devil sharks," it seems the nickname only touches on how fascinating these volcano-loving fish really are.